Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tiny Steampunkish Top Hat How-To

Not totally steampunk, because it's missing about five million gears and cogs.

Remember the tiny gun that I made for my friend Elaine for the Tucson Zombie Walk? Well, it turns out that Elaine's psych lab group is really into steampunk (why aren't my lab mates ever like that?), so they're having a steampunk lab meeting! Everyone will sit around discussing brains and sleep while decked out in corsets and gears and things! So jealous. Anyway, she asked me to mail her the top hat from the walk so that she could be properly accessorized for this lab meeting; I decided, in a typical me fashion, that rather than finding a box big enough to mail the hat, I should just make her a tiny hat to go with her tiny gun. That way, she will always have a proper accessory should something like this come up again (which is actually not too unlikely).

Here's how I did it!

I began by raiding my kitchen to find a glass and a bowl of appropriate circumferences for what I envisioned as the base and top of the hat. I traced the circles out on a cereal box. I also sacrificed one of the yogurt containers that I use as tupperware (because I'm azn like that).
This is also the best yogurt ever. At least on this side of the Atlantic. There is nothing quite like yogurt in Europe.

I cut the base off of the yogurt container and cut a slit down the side. This yielded a nice template for the side of the hat, which I wanted to be slightly larger up top, just like the yogurt container. I traced this template onto the other side of the cereal box.
Ignore the cat head that wanted to investigate this madness.

The resulting cardboard piece. Cut it out, curl it up, and tape the sides together.

A raid of my fabric stash yielded the scraps leftover from my ren-faire bodice, fittingly enough. I cut out a circle a little larger than the top of the hat, then spread tacky glue all over the cardboard to attach the fabric circle. I folded the sides over to get it covered on the edges, too.

Just fold the extra edge bits over. I had to add a heavy textbook on top to get the edges to stay while it dried.
Repeat the steps above to cover the side piece (slightly larger fabric scrap, glue and fold over the edge).
I didn't bother adding glue all over the sides, just at the seam.
I then cut out a hole in the center of the base cardboard circle, trimmed a fabric scrap to match it (with enough extra on the sides to fold over again), then glued it all together. Note that I clipped the middle circle to get it to fold over.
The circle line is traced from the base of the side piece. I cut the hole a little smaller so there'd be a lip for it to stand on.

No need to be super exact on the cutting here!

All folded over. Looks kind of like a messy Star of David.

All nice and neat on the other side!
At this point I broke out the hot glue gun and proceeded to assemble all the pieces. This was done a little haphazardly by squirting a circle, then plopping the next piece on top. Unfortunately, it resulted in ugly glue seepage at all my edges.
It looked a lot worse in person.

To cover this up, I raided my trims for black braids, then glued those on to cover the glue. Ironic, isn't it. I used hot glue for the fat braid at the base, and tacky glue for more control on the thin braid at the crown. Finally, all that was left was decorating! I found a button to match Elaine's outfit, and hot glued that on along with some black tulle and a feather from one of Walnut's cat toys. I am nothing if not resourceful.

In order to secure this tiny hat to Elaine's head, I cut a circle of black felt to cover the bottom of the hat, added a strip of black felt through which a headband or hair clip could be inserted, and used that to cover the mess on the bottom of the hat.

I really, really, tried to get Walnut to wear the hat before sending it off to Elaine, but he was all like NOOOOO WAT IS THIS DESCENDING ON MAH HEAD DO NOT WANT. Sorry, no adorable picture of a cat in a hat. Have this t-shirt instead.

On the dress-making front, I have finished my Superman dress and it is pretty epic, if I do say so myself. I'm hoping to get some pictures later when the sun comes out.


  1. Brilliant! I just love seeing how you put this together!!!

  2. Gaaaah, that Pusheen t-shirt is adorable. As is your mini top hat! Although I would have loved to see a picture of it in relation to Walnut, even if he weren't wearing it, so that we know how big {or small} the top hat turned out to be. So cute!

  3. @Samantha I really tried to take a picture of the hat just hovering above Walnut, but he wouldn't sit still and it was blurry and dark :(

  4. What a fun project. I love trying to figure out how to make things without a pattern too. You are so creative!


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